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Cam Newton, Mac Jones Will Both Play In Patriots' Preseason Opener, Per Report

By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- Lest there be any doubt, both Cameron Jerrell Newton and Michael McCorkle Jones will be taking snaps for the Patriots against the Washington Football Team on Thursday night, when the Patriots open up their preseason at Gillette Stadium.

While that was certainly expected, ESPN's Mike Reiss confirmed that it is the case with a report on Thursday morning.

"How long they play will be determined by head coach Bill Belichick, who traditionally keeps his intentions tight-lipped, in part to keep players on edge," Reiss wrote. "Belichick has previously said that Newton is the team's starting quarterback, so Newton would be expected to take initial snaps."

Though Belichick has stated that Cam Newton is the team's starting quarterback, the push from the rookie Mac Jones has been evident all training camp long. With the reps being divvied up among Newton, Jones and Brian Hoyer (and Jake Dolegala, to an extent, before his release), it's been as open of a camp quarterback competition in New England since the early '90s.

So while it was always unknown how much the unquestioned starter Tom Brady would play in any preseason game, it's a bit more of a necessity for both top QBs this year. For Newton, after a bad year where the lack of a preseason was pointed at as a major reason for his struggles, the preseason represents an opportunity to build some type of momentum heading into the season. For Jones, it'll be about commanding the line of scrimmage and displaying a firm grasp on the playbook, along with developing chemistry in real time with his teammates, all while facing an NFL defense that can actually hit him.

And with the preseason being shortened from four games to three games, each preseason contest takes on a bit more importance for everyone, including the QBs who have a lot to prove.

Tune in to Thursday night's Patriots-Washington preseason game on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m., and after the game get full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter. The game can also be streamed on in the Boston area!

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